I just finished reading Ayodeji Awosike’s article entitled “The Difference Between Good and Bad Writers” on Medium (Side note: Medium is a great platform on which to publish and to read great content). It’s a wonderful read if you have five or six minutes, which — coincidentally — we all have especially because we can access Medium on our phones.
He starts off by alluding to this idea that writing is different than years ago when a writer needed an agent and a publishing house in order to get their words out. In other words, there were gatekeepers. There was a group of people who decided who was good enough and who was not. Ostensibly, this served some higher purpose. It elevated writers to a certain status, deserved or not. Writers were seen as the elite, the best of the best.
These days, anyone can be a writer. Anyone with a blog or a Twitter account or even enough desire to launch a self-published book can call themselves a writer. In many cases, these people calling themselves “writers” is like me calling myself a “chef” because I make great enchiladas. It’s insulting to chefs regardless of how good my enchiladas are (they’re actually delicious– ask me for the recipe).
In my ever-roundabout way to getting to my point is that the gatekeepers are now gone and it’s our job as writers to uphold certain standards. Be a writer. Be a great writer. Don’t just pump out prose and click send. Don’t just jump into the book writing world to have a book in the world. Be an author. Care about the craft. Care about crafting something that’ll be a perennial seller. Care about crafting a marketing plan and a book launch. Care about making this a career. Yes, care about making money as a writer (I swear, we’re not supposed to starve).
Does it bother you, on some level, that there are no gatekeepers or no standard-bearers anymore? Are you frustrated that something you give your soul to is also something to which everyone has access?